Paladin Talents (WoW)  


See also: Paladin Talent Builds

Paladins are a hybrid class. This means that you have choices on the roles that you fill. Some of those choices are viable, but when looking toward an end-game paladin build - with some situational exceptions - it's worthwhile to remember the adage: Jack of all trades, master of none. In other words, at end game you're going to have to choose a direction. You simply are.

Also, like all of the other hybrid classes you're probably going to have to resign yourself to respeccing unless you want your leveling to take far longer than necessary and really not gain you any value. You should definitely play your class how you like to, but know that sometimes things can be downright painful and with a hybrid class, until Outland, with the right gear, you really can fill any role. So there's no reason to make your solo play unnecessarily difficult on yourself, just carry or have gear for each role. How you play solo is no ones business.

That said, typically, at least until level 35, retribution is the leveling tree. At that point you can choose to stay retribution (Ret) or opt to completely respec to Protection (Prot). While people have leveled as Holy, it's not the ideal path and will not be covered here.

This page will enumerate the available talents in each tier of the tree. Note that Blizzard tweaks talents frequently. This page can give you some idea of what talents are worthwhile but the last word should be the Paladin forums. Compose a build using Wowhead. When you've completed your build make sure to click "Link to this Build" in the upper left and then post that to the paladin forums here to get the most up to date feedback on viability and utility. Be sure to state what it is that you're hoping to accomplish with your character.

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The holy tree is the healing tree for paladins. The main focus of the talents is efficiency - getting as much healing done quickly with as little mana expended. Paladins don't have the wide range of healing options that a priest has, but what makes the paladin shine is low-threat heals that are extremely efficient.

Key Talents

  • Divine Intellect - Increases your total intellect by 10%. Useful for both your mana pool as well as improving spell critical strike chance.
  • Spiritual Focus - Gives a 70% chance to avoid interruption when casting healing spells.
  • Healing Light - Increases the amount healed by Flash of Light and Holy Light by 12%
  • Illumination - This is a must have talent for healing paladins. Each healing spell critical strike returns (note that doesn't say has a chance to, it will always return) mana equal to 60% of the base cost of the spell.
  • Divine Favor - When activated, the next Holy Light, Flash of Light or Holy Shock spell is guaranteed to crit.
  • Holy Power - Increases the critical effect chance of your Holy spells.
  • Light's Grace - Causes your Holy Light spell to reduce the casting time of the next Holy Light spell by .5 seconds.
  • Holy Guidance - Increases spell damage and healing by 35% of your total intellect.
  • Divine Illumination - When activated, reduces the mana cost of all spells by 50% for 15 seconds.

See Paladin Holy for a more detailed discussion of available Holy Talents


The protection tree is the survivability tree for paladins. For this reason it's obviously the tanking tree, but even those primarily specced in Retribution or Holy will sometimes pick up talents in here for added durability.

Key Talents

  • Redoubt - Melee and ranged attacks have a 10% chance to increase your chance to block by 30%.
  • Toughness - Increases your armor value from items by 10%.
  • Anticipation - Increases your defense skill by 20.
  • Improved Righteous Fury - Increases threat generated by Righteous Fury by 50% and also reduces all incoming damage by 6%. Some PvP healers will pick up this talent for the damage reduction capability. In PvP the additional threat is a moot point so it's not a drawback.
  • Reckoning - After being hit by an attack, gives you a chance to have tyour next 4 weapon swings generate an extra attack. THis is useful for leveling but it loses its effectiveness for a tank in end game because at some point your avoidance will be so great that you're not actually getting hit enough for it to proc very often.
  • Spell Warding - Paladins have essentially no abilities to mitigate spell damage. Picking this up (along with the 6% reduction from Imp Righteous Fury) can help with that.
  • One Handed Weapon Sepcialization - This is a great talent because it not only increases your white damage from weapons, but ALL damage, including spell damage, while a one-haned weapon is equipped.
  • Holy shield and Improved Holy Shield - If you're tanking there's no reason not to get both of these. It increases your chance to block, reflects damage on blocking and generates additional threat. Improved HS increases the damage reflected and the charges available.
  • Combat Expertise - Increases your expertise by 5 but, more importantly, increases your stamina by 10%.
  • Avenger's Shield - The paladin's ranged pull. Since it will strike 2 additional mobs at random, it's not good for precision pulls. But it provides a ton of up-front threat as well as adds a slow effect to enemies. 30 yard range.

See Paladin Protection for a more detailed discussion of available Protection talents


The retribution tree is the damage tree. Primarily used as the leveling spec, recent changes have made it more viable for end-game.

Key Talents

  • Improved Blessing Of Might - As this will be the blessing used on yourself most often, it pays to take this.
  • Improved Judgement - The ability to judge more often will provide a nice damage boost. However mana may be an issue, often this is paired with the Benediction talent.
  • Conviction - An extra 5% critical strike chance is always a good thing.
  • Seal of Command - This is most useful for Alliance paladins, Horde will probably replace this with Seal of Blood later in the game.
  • Sanctity Aura - Along with Improved, this increases holy damage caused by all party members.
  • Vengeance - Applies a debuff to the target giving a 5% bonus to physical and Holy used against it. This debuff stacks 3 times. Since most Ret paladins gear for crits, this almost always is fully stacked on a target.
  • Sanctified Seals and Sanctified Judgements - These two talents help immensely with mana efficiency.
  • Fanaticism - This is a must have talent for PvE players. The increased crit chance is nice, but what makes it a requirement is the threat reduction.
  • Crusader Strike - The ability to cause 110% weapon damage every 6 seconds. Enough said.

See Paladin Retribution for a more detailed discussion of available Retribution talents

Talent Builds and Selections

Playstyle and goals are highly individual. Within each of the above mentioned trees there are enough talents to cover a range of these. Some common goals are:

Leveling - When leveling, typically the highest damage spec is the best one. This is true for paladins as well. Retribution is the clear leveling tree for paladins. Holy and Protection are going to level significantly slower. However, at level 35 Protection becomes a viable leveling spec with the ability to pick up Reckoning. But the playstyle between that and Ret is very different. Ret will still be able to burn down single targets faster and have less trouble with casters. Protection, however, will be able to take on multiple (and ew're not talking 2 or 3. More like 6-10.) non-caster mobs with relative ease. This is what's known as Paladin AoE grinding. It all comes down to playstyle.

It's important to note that in Azeroth, up until about level 40 or 45 (a skilled player can push this limit) any spec can fill any role in an instance, provided they have a set of gear to support it. Often leveling paladins who are interested in running instances will have multiple sets of gear: A soloing set, a tanking set and a healing set.

Instances - All specs can do well in instances, but more often than not people are going to be looking to fill healer and tank spots. As mentioned above, early in the game you can fill any role, but it's obviously going to be easier if you're specced for it. It's possible, up until about level 65, to have a hybrid Holy/Protection build allowing you to either tank or heal any instance with ease (and again, with the right gear).

Raiding - Technically all three builds are viable for raiding. However, a Holy Paladin is probably going to be most desired, followed by Protection, followed by Ret.

PvP - This is the one activity that cannot be performed well by all three specs. Holy is fantastic in PvP and Ret can do some serious damage as well as provide some utillity. Protection spec, with the exception of tanking some of the NPCs in AV, is worse than useless in PvP. The mitigation isn't going to do much good, the threat talents are pointless and the damage is laughable. If you want to do PvP as protection for rewards then it's probably going to work out best if you assemble a healing set and heal.

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This page last modified 2008-06-08 21:13:53.